Day 105

Our excursion today was “Traditional Estancia La Rabida and Montevideo,” which began with a panoramic coach ride through Montevideo. We repeated several sites that we saw yesterday, stopped at Independence Square again but walked into the Old Town section up to Constitution Plaza. We also headed off in a different direction during some photo stops to see new places. We did have a much better stop at Parliament house, because the bus parked right in front, so we could walk up the steps of the building. Yesterday we parked across the street and had poles and traffic lights in our photos. After about an hour of history, we headed to the ranch(estancia).

La Rabida ranch covers over 600 acres of relatively flat farmland. This is a working dairy farm as well, with over 750 cows milked twice daily. We all got to take a turn at milking Rosita later in the day. Our visit began with the usual restroom visit after a long ride. The owner’s granddaughter gave us a brief history of the ranch and explained some of the days activities. We began with a lovely hayride around the area. Partway through this, we stopped and walked down a path to the Rio de la Plata (part of the large estuary that Montevideo and Buenos Aires are on) and took a brief walk on the beach here. The hayride continued past herds of cows and later by the owner’s home, a traditional home with a thatched roof made from pampas grass.

We got to sample pure aquifer water that runs underground for many miles all around a large part of Uruguay. In a pen nearby were a number of rheas, smaller ostrich-looking birds. There were males, females, and chicks that were a few months old. The owners don’t eat the rheas, although ostrich meat is a favorite in the area, but they do eat an occasional egg. One rhea egg equals 12 chicken eggs. They also had some fine looking horses, one of which was being trained to be ridden.

We had a terrific barbecued lunch, beginning with grilled vegetables and sausage slices for appetizers. Then we were served beef, chicken and pork, potatoes and sweet potatoes, and salad. Beer, wine, and soda were also offered.

After our attempts at milking, we were persuaded to try gaucho sledding. Since there is no snow, a cow hide is hitched to a horse, someone sits on the hide, holds onto the strap, and is pulled around behind the horse on a grassy field. I was the first to volunteer. It was fun, and not very bumpy. When the others saw I was not in pain, several others, including Mac, also went on the ride. Our visit wound down and we took the hour-long bus ride back to the ship.

We got back a little before trivia time, so we attended, but did not score. Since the ship was in port until 7PM, we went into town afterward for a walk around Old Town. We saw some classic-style buildings, but didn’t do any shopping because of the time crunch, and many shops were closed for a Labor Day holiday.

Tonight, the Regent singers and dancers performed an expanded version of the “Under the Sea” show that they did for a cocktail party a month ago. They sang tunes from The Little Mermaid, Octopus Garden, and others, while doing some graceful acrobatic dancing and tap numbers. They finished with the cast singing and dancing with masks, flippers and bathing suits on.

Tomorrow we will be only about a hundred miles away and across the estuary in Buenos Aires for a day.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac